Archive for the ‘LPs’ Category

Two by the Roy Meriwether Trio

January 21, 2010

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Roy Meriwether rocking a Nehru…

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Listen/Download -Roy Meriwether Trio – Think

Listen/Download -Roy Meriwether Trio – Mean Greens

Greetings all.
I hope the end of another week finds you well.
I for one will stroll into the weekend with some pep in my step.
Last week, when I was on my way to spin at the Asbury Park 45 Sessions, I noticed the harsh glare of flashing lights in my rearview mirror, as the local popo requested my presence at the side of the road. Naturally, law abiding citizen that I am, I was shocked and stunned to hailed in such a manner, but I kept my cool, pulled to the curb and presented my papers to the officer, all the while wondering what the deal was.
Not too long after that the officer informed me that I had been pulled over because I had a headlight out (which I did not know, really…) and because my inspection was- gulp – almost five months past due (which I should have known but did not).
I was let go with a warning and sent on my merry way, a tale which I relate only because I dragged my butt over to the inspection station first thing this morning and was reminded once again that sometimes the fair winds of good fortune blow in my direction.
Not only was I spared the customary wait (there was no line at all, which in NJ is almost unheard of) but when they did the inspection they failed to check my headlights, and so, a short ten minutes later, I rolled out of the inspection station, onto the highway with a fresh, purple inspection sticker affixed to my windshield.
Of course this week I’ll have to go to the dealer to get the headlight fixed (yet another part of the modern car that the owner is no longer capable of maintaining themselves), but this is – as the kids say – ‘small potatoes’, considering how much of a given week I have to spend motoring my offspring around hither and yon, and how difficult that would be if my car were taken out of commission by the automotive commissars at the DMV.
So I raise my glass of iced coffee to you, inspection station ladies and gents, and say ‘Huzzah!’.
That said, I also have another appearance coming up, Wednesday next at Master Groove, at Forbidden City (NYC, Ave A between 13th and 14th) alongside your compere DJ Bluewater and our fellow Asbury Park 45 Sessioner M-Fasis for a set of high quality funk and soul a la 45RPM. I have been considering putting together a theme set of sorts (not sure which kind yet), but if you’re in the city, and you feel the need to absorb some groovy sounds, and have nothing else to do, may I invite you to fall by and join us? I assure you that no matter how cold the night is, the heat will be brought.
I yet more news…this week saw the death of my trusty Numark portable, which served me well these last few years. The motor gave up the ghost, so It had to be replaced. I’ll let you know how the new one works out.
Now, as far as music goes this Friday, how about some more soul jazz??
Last week, as I eulogized the mighty Freddie McCoy, I made mention of the fact that he was – as a vibist – one of the purest examples of a musician working a soul jazz vibe (pun intended, sort of…).
As pianists go, were you to seek someone similarly inclined, you might be persuaded to turn your ears in the direction of Mr. Roy Meriwether.
Meriwether – who got his start out Indiana way – and his trio recorded a grip of solid soul jazz LPs for Capitol in the 60s, before splitting off into the world of private press rarity, where they would wax their sought after version of the music from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ (some of which was previously featured in Funky16Corners Radio v.64 and my guest mix for Fleamarket Funk, ‘Six Million Dollar Groove’ ) and the super rare, crate digger white whale LP ‘Nubian Lady’.
The tunes I bring you today are from his late 60s Capitol LP ‘Soul Knight’, which I bagged during my trip into the Berkshires late last year.
The LP features a number of very nice cuts, but the two I bring you today illustrate Meriwether’s powerful keyboard style.
The first is a cover of the Aretha Franklin classic ‘Think’, which is taken at a brisk pace, with some tight, funky drums on the bottom.
The second is a version of a tune by another master of soul jazz, saxophonist Eddie Harris. I included Harris’s original version of his tune ‘Mean Greens’ in a mix I did for Fufu Stew called ‘Outta Sight aka Mancini King of Monsters’. The OG is taken as a fairly relaxed pace, but the cover by the Meriwether Trio is a killer, with Roy sounding as if he was about to pop the keys off of the piano. The group gets deep inside the quasi-latin rhythm of the tune and really work it on out. If you get the chance, listen to the OG and the cover side by side to see how two great musicians create their own takes on a standard.
I hope you dig the tunes, and I’ll be back next week.

Peace

Larry

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Funky16Corners Radio v.79 – Positive Vibrations

January 17, 2010

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Funky16Corners Radio v.79 – Positive Vibrations!

Playlist

Lionel Hampton – Greasy Greens (Glad Hamp)
Jack Wilson feat Roy Ayers – Sidewinder (Vault)
Freddie McCoy – Peas and Rice (Prestige)
Jack Brokensha and the Baroqe-a-delics – Boogaloo (Contrast)
Bobby Hutcherson – Goin’ Down South (Blue Note)
Cal Tjader – Ode to Billie Joe (Skye)
Ulysses Crockett – Sunshine Superman (Transverse)
Gary Burton – Leroy the Magician (Atlantic)
Milt Jackson – People Make the World Go Round (CTI)
Bobby Christian – Mooganga (Ovation)
Johnny Lytle – Above the Clouds (SS)
Lionel Hampton- Them Changes (Brunswick)
Freddie McCoy – Beans’n’Greens (Prestige)
Soulful Strings feat Billy Wooten – One Night Affair (Cadet)
Cal Tjader – Soul Sauce (Verve)


To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive

Greetings all.

How’s by you?
Speaking for myself, a fabulous (yet tiring) weekend was had, beginning with a stellar edition of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions. Nearing our third anniversary as the only all-45 funk/soul night in New Jersey, the 45 Sessions are running at full steam. Heavy sets were dropped by all concerned, especially DJ Prestige and M-Fasis tag teaming on the tables with a set that got the people up and moving.
I was hoping to bring you a live recording of my set, but technical ineptitude on my part (concerning setting the recording source) left me with a live recording of the DJ area, complete with conversations and other random noise running over the music. With any luck I’ll get the whole thing straightened out by the time I spin with DJ Bluewater at Forbidden City in a couple of weeks.
A few weeks back, when we memorialized the late, lamented Freddie McCoy, I mentioned that I was working on a vibes mix, and the sounds you hear today are the results thereof.
The Funky16Corners Radio experience* features mixes arising from varying levels of inspiration, many of them high-concept, long-gestating projects, others whipped together on a moments notice. Today’s edition of the podcast is one of the former.
I’ve been a huge fan of the vibraphone since I first listened to jazz as a kid. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to see a couple of the masters of the vibes in a live setting, including Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson. The vibes have their haters, mainly people who find the sound too ‘cool’, but I find that the vibraphone produces one of the loveliest, deepest sounds in all of music.
Funky16Corners Radio v.79 includes cuts by some of my favorite players, with some classics, a couple of interesting obscurities. I should also mention, in the spirit of full disclosure, that in addition to the vibraphone, you will also be hearing a couple of other mallet-driven instruments, including the xylophone and the marimba (in a few cases, during the same number).
I can remember the day many years ago when my man Haim first hipped me to Lionel Hampton’s mighty ‘Greasy Greens’. Hampton was one of the true past masters of the vibes, with a career that goes back to the classic Benny Goodman trios, and extended well into the funky 1970s. ‘Greasy Greens’ made a couple of appearances on vinyl, but the ultimate version is the one included here, which was released as a 45 on Hampton’s own Glad-Hamp label. If the groove sounds familiar, it was borrowed by Georgie Woods for the song ‘Potato Salad’.
Roy Ayers is a fave of the rare groove crowd for his 70s stuff, but the selection in today’s mix comes from the early part of his career when he was working as a sideman with pianist Jack Wilson. Their version of Lee Morgan’s ‘Sidewinder’ is a brilliant bit of soul jazz.
I focused on Freddie McCoy in this space a few weeks ago, and promised that I’d include some more of his music in this mix. ‘Peas and Rice’, from 1967 has a goodtime party vibe.
Australian-born vibist Jack Brokensha emigrated to Canada, and eventually crossed the border into Detroit where he found a spot in the Motown organization as one of the storied Funk Brothers. He came to be known as ‘White Jack’ (as opposed to Jack Ashford, who was not…). He recorded an LP with his group the Baroque-adelics (also billed as the Concert Jazz Quartet). ‘Boogaloo’ appeared on that LP, as well as the 45 from which this version was recorded.
The aforementioned Bobby Hutcherson was perhaps the greatest post-bop vibes stylist of the 1960s, the predominant master of the instrument on the Blue Note label, leading many sessions and working as a sideman on countless others. ‘Goin’ Down South’ appeared on his 1970 ‘San Francisco’ album, one of many he recorded in partnership with the great tenor saxophonist Harold Land (who had played alongside trumpeter Clifford Brown in his classic groups). The tune features Hutcherson working on both vibes and marimba. He cooks up a very tasty groove indeed.
Cal Tjader was known primarily as a master of Latin jazz styles, but found time to work in a soulful style as well. He was one of the co-founders of the Skye Label (alongside Gabor Szabo and Gary McFarland) in the late 60s. His cover of Bobbie Gentry’s ‘Ode to Billie Joe’ appeared on his 1968 LP ‘Solar Heat’.
Bay area vibist Ulysses Crockett doesn’t have an expansive discography, but what he did lay down on vinyl is certainly worth hearing. His version of Donovan’s ‘Sunshine Superman’ appeared on the flipside of ‘Major Funky’.
Gary Burton was another one of the great vibists of the 1960s, recording with George Shearing and Stan Getz, but also stretching out into the realm of the avant garde with the likes of Carla Bley. ‘Leroy the Magician’ – complete with breakbeat by Bernard Purdie – appeared on Burton’s 1969 Atlantic LP ‘Good Vibes’.
Milt Jackson was, along with Lionel Hampton the preeminent practitioner of the vibes in the bop era. He was a cofounder of the Modern Jazz Quartet, and appeared on Thelonious Monk’s seminal Blue Note sessions. Like so many of his contemporaries, he took a soulful turn in the 60s and 70s. His version of the Stylistics ‘People Make the World Go Round’ appeared on his 1972 ‘Sunflower’ LP.
Bobby Christian was a versatile instrumentalist who’s career stretches back into the 1930s. He recorded a number of albums as a leader (sought after by exotica/now sound fans) and also worked extensively as a sideman, appearing on a number of Cadet sessions, including albums with the Soulful Strings. He was nearing 60 when he recorded ‘Mooganga’ for his 1970 Ovation LP ‘Vibe-rations’.
Johnny Lytle is known to soul jazz fans for his classic ‘The Village Caller’ and his excellent work for Detroit’s Tuba label in the 1960s. ‘Above the Clouds’, from his 1969 Solid State LP ‘Be Proud’ features Lytle working it out on vibes and xylophone.
Lionel Hampton returns with his funky take on the Buddy Miles classic ‘Them Changes’.
Freddie McCoy’s 1968 ‘Beans’n’Green’ is cut from the same pattern as ‘Peas and Rice’ (aside from the obvious soul food connotations) with an in-studio ‘live’ vibe, handclaps, soul partiers and the lot. The two tracks sound as if they were recorded in the same session, but there was actually five months between the two sessions.
Billy Wooten is known to the crate digger set for his rare and highly sought after LPs with the Wooden Glass and the Nineteenth Whole. He was also a busy sideman, working on a couple of the funkier Grant Green sessions, and with the Soulful Strings. The cut included here, ‘One Night Affair’ appeared on the ‘Soulful Strings Play Gamble Huff’ and includes Wooten with an extended marimba solo.
The closing track in the edition of Funky16Corners Radio is one of the all-time soul jazz/dancefloor vibes classics, Cal Tjader with the legendary ‘Soul Sauce’. Tjader was a masterful player, and manages to really work it out n the vibes while pushing the band to its limits.
As always, I hope you dig the mix, and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.

Peace

Larry

*Special thanks go out to Mike Karlos of Radio 95X production for putting together that snappy drop you hear midway into the mix.

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Percy Sledge – Baby Help Me

January 10, 2010

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Percy Sledge

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Listen/Download -Percy Sledge – Baby Help Me

Greetings all.
I hope all of you are warm, dry and happy this wintry Monday.
I for one have yet to fully emerge from the fog of the weekend (nothing too strenuous, just too much on the agenda when some well deserved vegetation would be in order), so I figured what better way to kick things off than a nice, upbeat soul cut?
When most folks hear the name Percy Sledge, they expect one thing and one thing only, that being that monument to deep, weepy southern soul, ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’. One of those soul records that people with no knowledge of soul at all know about (thanks to countless soundtrack appearances), ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ manages to still be listenable despite 40+ years of saturation.
When I was down in DC last year, spinning and digging, in addition to a grip of funk 45s and LPs I managed to pull a couple of slices of classic soul, one of which was Percy Sledge’s 1968 LP ‘Take Time To Know Her’. Backed by the Muscle Shoals crew, the LP features Sledge working out on his other big ballad hit, the Dan Penn/Spooner Oldham classic ‘Out of Left Field’, and an interesting cover of the Classics IV’s ‘Spooky’.
While I was checking the album out, wandering through the grooves randomly I happened upon something I did not expect to find, that being today’s selection, ‘Baby Help Me’. Written by none other than Bobby Womack, ‘Baby Help Me’ is a great illustration of the little known fact that Percy Sledge, in addition to his famous way with a pleading ballad, was also able to work it out on a little bit of the soul shouting.
While Sledge wasn’t about to give the Wicked Pickett a run for his money, he acquits himself nicely, bringing his sand-papery growl to the fore, on top of a rocking rhythm section and some tight horns.
It’s great to see that Percy wasn’t afraid to get a little Alabama mud splattered on the cuffs of his continental suit.

Oddly enough I have another 45 by Mr Sledge in the queue, but it deserves a post of its own, so keep you ears peeled for that one in the coming months.

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In other news, this coming Friday, January 15th marks the return of the Asbury Park 45 Sessions to the World Famous Asbury Lanes with DJ Prestige, yours truly, DJ Bluewater, M-Fasis, DJ Prime Mundo, Jack the Ripper and guest selector DJ Devil Dick. If you’re in the area, fall by for some heat of the 45RPM variety.

Also…I’ll be returning for another guest spot with DJ Bluewater at Master Groove @ Forbidden City in NYC on Wednesday night January 27th.  It’s a very chill night so you should fall by if you’re in the City and down for some funk. The Master Groove line-up for the coming weeks is as follows:

Jan 13th: M.fasis, Nick Cope
Jan 20th: DJ Prestige, DJ Prime  Mundo
Jan 27th: M.fasis, Funky16Corners

I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Wednesday.

Peace

Larry

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Remembering Freddie McCoy

January 7, 2010

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The Great Freddie McCoy

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Listen/Download -Freddie McCoy – Funk Drops

Listen/Download -Freddie McCoy – My Babe

Listen/Download -Freddie McCoy – Pet Sounds

Greetings all.

I come to you today with a couple of tunes, posted in the memory of one of the great soul jazz vibists, Mr. Freddie McCoy. This post was originally planned for Wednesday, but I had to stop and take a minute to remember the great Willie Mitchell, so here we are today.
They also come to you courtesy of one of the stranger stories to find me since the inception of this blog.
Back in October of 2006 I posted one of my the most hypnotic numbers in McCoy’s catalog, the title track from his 1969 LP ‘Gimme Some’. Over the course of the next few years, the post drew some interesting comments, the most interesting being one from McCoy himself (then living in Morocco under the name Dit Ahmed Sofi) in May of this year.
Later that year he contacted me offline, telling me that he had some new music recorded (on guitar, no less) and asking of I knew someone who might be interested in putting it out.
About a month after that, someone posting with McCoy’s WordPress log-in left a message that he had passed away on September 27th.
Naturally, this alarmed the family members (his children, nieces and nephews) and ex-band member Chuck Purro, who had posted in, and were following the thread.
Very soon after the posting of the death notice, I received an e-mail (from McCoy’s account) informing me that he had in fact passed on and that I would receive further information as soon as possible.
It wasn’t until just before Christmas that his children posted a message on the blog that they had gotten in touch with his family in Morocco, and had confirmed his passing.
This is sad news, but especially so when you consider that McCoy was – at least in my opinion – the finest, purely “soul jazz” vibraphonist I’ve ever heard.
There were of course many vibists that traveled through the soul jazz genre, including masters like Cal Tjader, Bobby Hutcherson, Gary McFarland, Gary Burton, Johnny Lytle and past masters like Milt Jackson and Lionel Hampton, but none of them – despite many brilliant recordings – really found their home in that particular sound.
Freddie McCoy did.
Starting out as a sideman with Johnny Hammond Smith, Freddie McCoy recorded his first date as a leader n 1963, and his last in 1971 (almost all for Prestige*).
Working with a supporting cast that included Joanne Brackeen and Bernard Purdie, McCoy, like almost every jazzer not working exclusively on the “out” side, spent much of the 60s mixing his own original compositions with covers of contemporary pop and soul material. A survey of his albums (all out of print and some harder to find than others) reveals that while the results were occasionally pedestrian, they were also at times positively transcendant.
The (very) few details I have picked up about his post-recording years, suggest he spent some time living a quasi-hippy lifestyle in Hawaii (with some members of his band), spent time on an ashram in India, living his last days in North Africa.
1960s soul jazz was by and large the province of organists (a major focus here at the ‘Corners) and guitarists, with vibraphonists often working on the periphery as supporting players. Freddie McCoy took a skill rooted in hard bop, mixed it with rhythm and blues, soul, funk and even psychedelia and produced a truly unique sound that to this day has yet to receive its due.
Oddly enough, after first hearing that Freddie might have passed away, I started working on a mix (which will drop here in a week or two) of soul jazz vibes, that was to include a couple of prime tracks by him. It still will, but confirmation of his death made be dip back into the crates to record a few more cuts to post by themselves, and to pull one more – which had appeared here as part of a previous mix, and is a  particular fave – out of the archives.
The three tracks I bring you today by no means represent all facets of McCoy’s sound, but they should give you the impetus to go out and dig for more, and maybe (just maybe) some enterprising soul at a record company might be inspired to put together a comp of his finest work so that a new generation can groove to his sounds.
The first two tracks come from his 1966 ‘Funk Drops’ session for Prestige. The title cut features a repeating baritone sax figure (by Laurdine Patrick) against Joanne Brackeen’s organ and McCoy’s vibes. While not out and out funk, the sound here is well on its way in that direction, and is the kind of hard hitting stuff that Mods and their ilk have been sliding across dance floors to for decades.
The second track from that album is a reworking of Willie Dixon’s blues/r&b standard ‘My Babe’ which produces an even harder, even Modder dancers groove, with aggressive, choppy guitar by Napolean Allen kicking up the tempo.
The third and final track is something I included in Funky16Corners Radio v.32, Freddie McCoys sublime and absolutely brilliant cover of the Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’, recorded for his 1968 LP ‘Soul Yogi’. He takes the original, bumps up the tempo a few notches and really moves with Brian Wilson’s wonderful melody. The section of the recording towards the middle, where he starts to swing the tempo is a few, magical seconds of musical perfection that I absolutely live for. I always find myself giving this one repeat spins, and I think you will too.
That all said, take a moment to soak up the great music that Freddie McCoy gave us before he slipped the surly bonds of earth.
I hope you dig these sounds,and I’ll see you all on Friday.

Peace

Larry

*His last LP ‘Gimme Some’ was released on the Buddah subsidiary Cobblestone, but in his first reply to my original post he stated that he never actually recorded for that label. Whether or not those sessions were done for Prestige and then farmed out to the other label, I can’t say for sure. If anyone knows please drop me a line.

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Funky16Corners Brings You a Taste of Brazil!

January 3, 2010

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Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66

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Luiz Eca of Tamba 4

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Bola Sete with the OG Sleeve Face??

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Listen/Download -Brasil 66 – Chelsea Morning

Listen/Download -Tamba 4 – We and the Sea

Listen/Download -Bola Sete – Suite Judy Blue Eyes

Greetings all.

First and foremost, Happy New Year to all of you that don’t hew to one of the more obscure calendars.
As befits a blogger of my advanced age and parental status, I spent New Years Eve quietly, with the extended Funky16Corners fam in upstate NY. I won’t jive you and say that I haven’t spent many a past New Years greased to the gills and running wild like an escaped baboon, but those years are far behind me. I no longer possess the recuperative powers of my youth, and while I may partake in a cocktail every now and again, mass consumption thereof is but a memory.
I hope you all had a great time in the celebratory fashion of your choosing, and remained safe, warm and ready to soak up some quality music in the year two thousand and ten, the arrival at which is something that would have boggled my fevered brain decades ago, when such a date sounded like so much science fiction. Since we’ve arrived at this point on the timeline, and have neither become the first course in an alien feast, nor bow before a race of super intelligent apes, I have to assumed that the Jules Vernes of our age were – no matter how imaginative – somewhat less Jules Verne-y than the OG.
That said, I have decided to bring in the New Year with something mellow.
My digs of the past year were as always, diverse and satisfying, and today’s selections are proof.
The music of Brazil is something that I could not live without. Much like my fascination with the sounds of Jamaica, though I am in no way an expert, my love for the music made by our neighbors in the south, particularly after the foundation of bossa nova, runs very, very deep.
The three records I bring you this fine day were all created by Brazilian performers that had a presence here in the US.
Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 (and later 77, etc) actually had a fair amount of popularity in the US with a number of Top 40 hits in the US between 1966 and 1971, including their powerhouse cover of Jorge Ben’s ‘Mas Que Nada’. The group went a long way to popularizing (and pop music-a-fying) the sounds of Brazil for the US market, to the point where I actually remember my parents owning a couple of their records.
The Brasil 66 version of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Chelsea Morning’ was on the 1971 LP ‘Stillness’ and is a great, jazzy take on an oft covered singer songwriter chestnut. ‘Stillness’ was the last album that would feature vocalist Lani Hall, who went on to marry none other than the group’s producer, Herb Alpert. Mendes’ piano is featured prominently and there’s lots of great percussion in the background.
Tamba 4, led by pianist Luiz Eca had a long history in Brazil as a trio, reforming in 1968 as Tamba 4 and releasing a couple of albums on CTI in the US in the late 60s.
Tamba 4’s ‘We and the Sea’ was the title track from their 1968 CTI debut. It’s a great example of the group’s sound, with Eca’s piano, flautist Bebeto and Ohana’s percussion joining with Gary McFarland-esque wordless vocalizations. If you haven’t heard any of their stuff, it has been reissued and some of it can be found in iTunes. I’m also reposting their very tasty, 45-only version of ‘California Soul’.
Though I only ever knew of the Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete via his 1960s recordings with the genius Vince Guaraldi, by the time he was making those records he was past 40 and had had a long career in his home country. His American discovery was by Dizzy Gillespie in New York in 1962 and he joined the trumpet master at the Monterey Jazz Fest that year. He went on to tour with Gillespie, eventually relocating to San Francisco where he met up with Guaraldi.
The tune I bring you today is a very mellow reworking of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s ‘Suite Judy Blue Eyes’ from Bola Sete’s 1971 LP ‘Workin’ on a Groovy Thing’.
The version is laid back with (of course) a Brazilian flair and sounds as if it might have been the inspiration for guitarist Fareed Haque’s 1997 reworking of the entire ‘Déjà vu’ LP for Blue Note*. Oddly enough, though I dig CSN/CSNY, ‘Suite Judy Blue Eyes’ has never been one of my favorite tunes from their catalog, and I like the way that Bola Sete removes the time-worn number from its shambolic and overreachingly ambitious (nothing like a bunch of longhairs reaching deep into their serapes to call something they wrote a “suite”) hippie roots, recasting it as a meditation of sorts.
I hope you dig the sounds, and I’ll be back on Wednesday with something a little closer to home.

Peace

Larry

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*This was part of a short-lived series that Blue Note commissioned of jazz artists redoing entire classic albums which included Charlie Hunter covering Bob Marley’s ‘Natty Dread’ and Everette Harp’s version of Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’

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Funky16Corners Christmas Flashback #2 – Soulful Strings

December 20, 2009

Greetings all.
Welcome to the second “flashback” edition of the Funky16Corners Christmas thing.
This post, originally published in December of 2007 features two sublime tracks by one of my all-time favorite musical acts, the Soulful Strings.
Both tunes are amazing (for different reasons) and they should hold you over until Wednesday when I’ll drop something new for the season.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you soon.
Peace
Larry

NOTE: I just got word that I’ll be joining DJ Bluewater this Wednesday night (12/23) at his new Master Groove night at Forbidden City in NYC. The whole shebang gets started around 10PM, so fall by for some tasty 45s.

Originally posted 12/2007

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The Magic of Christmas

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Richard Evans
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Miss Doroth Ashby

Listen – Soulful Strings – Jingle Bells”
Listen – Soulful Strings – Merry Christmas Baby”

Greetings all .
It’s time for the third annual* Funky16Corners Christmas post.
Christmas is nearing rapidly, and I couldn’t very well let it go by without dropping some soulful goodness of a holiday variety.
If you’re a regular reader of the blog you’re familiar with my ongoing trials and tribulations (some would say too much so, but that’s just the way things are around here).
Two thousand and ought seven has been a real yin yang of a year, with the duality of trouble and good fortune engaged in a perpetual tug of war. All thing considered, however, I’ve got it pretty good.
On the personal side I have a wonderful wife and two incredible children. I took a long time to get started on the family thing, but it’s worth every bit of time and energy one might invest in it. That, in the end, is what it’s all about.
Things here at Funky16Corners – as well as over at Iron Leg, the blog I started this summer – have never been better. I couldn’t ask for a better creative outlet, and special thanks go out to all of you that stop by here on the reg and engage in the conversation. I couldn’t do it without you.
As I’ve stated repeatedly in the past, I’ve never been much of a holiday music collector. However, once in a while a personal obsession of mine also happens to have a Christmas record. In the case of Richard Evans and the Soulful Strings, their 1968 LP ‘The Magic of Christmas’ is a real gem.
The first tune I selected was the obvious choice (at least for me) because I can’t think of another version of ‘Jingle Bells’ that opens up with an honest to goodness drum break. I’m not sure who’s laying it down here (though it sounds like the same drummer that Evans used on Marlena Shaw’s ‘California Soul’, which I’ll be blogging in the next few weeks).
The second selection is a lush, sublime reading of Charles Brown’s classic ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ which features the brilliant Dorothy Ashby on harp. If you aren’t familiar with Ashby – I included her ‘Soul Vibrations’ on my collab with DJ Prestige ‘Beat Combination Pt2’ (check out the Flea Market Funk Mixes page)– she was one of the few harpists who could actually play jazz on the instrument, and the three albums she recorded for Cadet between 1968 and 1970 (in collaboration with Evans) are brilliant.
If your nerves are frayed (like mine) and the consumerist madness of the holiday season has you down, give this version of ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ a listen and all will (at least for a few minutes) be well.
I’ll be taking the next week off to enjoy the holiday with my family and do a little visiting. I will most definitely be back with something for New Years Eve, so hang tight, enjoy your Christmas and I’ll see you all soon.
Peace
Larry

*Though this is the blogs fourth Christmas, for some reason I didn’t do a holiday post in 2004

Example

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for some Christmas pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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Funky16Corners Christmas Flashback Pt1 – Clarence Carter / George Conedy

December 17, 2009

Greetings all.

The time has come for Funky16Corners to get back into the Christmas groove. We are doing so by re-upping Christmas posts from years past, soon to be followed by a new Christmas track next week. I’m slacking a little on new material since I suffered through a root canal this morning.

I hope you dig these tunes and I’ll see you all on Monday with some more holiday heat.

Peace

Larry

Originally Posted December 2006

Example

Clarence Carter

Example

Example

Listen – Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa ”

Listen – George Conedy – El Nino del Tambor”

Greetings all (and Ho Ho Ho).
It’s time for the second annual* Funky16Corners Christmas post.
As I’ve gone over a few different times, I’ve never been a big collector of (any) holiday themed funk and soul. I may pick up a piece here and there – when it turns up – but I don’t generally seek it out. This is the main reason it may take a decade or so before you see me post a Christmas edition of Funky16Corners Radio. I just don’t have the raw material at my disposal.
That is not to say that I would ever let the time of year go by unnoticed, and this time out I have a couple of excellent funky yule logs for ye, one you may have heard, and another that you almost certainly haven’t.
The former may very well be my all time favorite funk/soul Christmas record, by one of the truly great voices of 60’s and 70’s soul. The singer, Mr. Clarence Carter, the song, ‘Back Door Santa’.
First off, I suspect that someone, somewhere in the funky blog-o-sphere will be dropping this chestnut, and I don’t care, on account of I love this record, and you should too, and much like spinach and yams, more than one serving will only serve to improve your overall well being.
That said, Clarence rips it up here, whipping every last bit of funk they had hidden at Fame studios on you (as well as jingle bells and egg nog), with all the good Santa-related double (hardly) entendres money can buy. Get this on thy-Pod post haste, so that over the weekend, when some wet blanket tries to throw ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’ (or, God forbid that thing where the dogs bark out ‘Jingle Bells’) on at the Christmas gathering, you can parry (and thrust) with this big, jangling set of Christmas balls and really get the party started.
I mean, seriously…how can your ears suck up this groovy gravy, and your butt fail to respond– in the words of the great Lee Dorsey (without whom everything you do can’t be funky) – with the make-a-shake-a-make-a-hula, or however it is you likes to shake it (but don’t break it).
By the way, if some youngster starts tugging on your scarf when this starts playing, it’s because he heard this songs very essence sampled by none other than Run DMC (It’s Christmas in Hollis Queens! Etc etc).
On the flippity flop, I bring you the result of a happy accident (referring not to the recording of the record, but rather the circumstances by which it landed in my Crate du Hammonde).
The record in question popped up a while back on the sale list of a pal of mine, who’s taste in music I hold in very high regard (howdy Agent 45…).
So, on this list I see a record with the brief (but wholly sufficient description of “funky Hammond version”), directly adjacent to a very reasonable price, which was at the end of a line that began with a Spanish song title (which I didn’t bother to translate). So, I pay my money, some time elapses and the record in question pops through the mail slot at Funky16Corners headquarters. I whipped it on the turntable, and in a few short seconds (about as long as I suspect it will take you) it became apparent that the title was in fact ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ en Espanol.
I have to say that even as a tike, when they still showed the animated special of the same title, this was far from my favorite Christmas tune, certainly not the kind of thing I thought capable of funk-a-fi-zation. Little did I know that sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s an organist named George Conedy laid down an LP of Christmas tunes for the gospel subsidiary of the Kent label, which I am assuming was the source of the music on this very 45**.

All I have to say is that George took an overly solemn carol and turned it into a slow, funky jam that sounds like it dropped out of the long lost (so long lost as to never have existed..) Santa-sploitation classic “Superfly Santa the Hard Way” aka “Hell Up in the North Pole”, in which our hero, Saint Nicky, wearing a red (of course) velvet suit, and driving a red and white Caddy brings Christmas joy to all the poor kids (and a few of the better looking women) on his route.
I’ve gone a-Googling, and as far as I can tell Mr. Conedy has vanished into the ether.
Well, wherever you be I say Huzzah! And Merry Christmas to you George!

And the same to all of you readers.

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, go out and suck up some of that Christmas cheer. It’s good for the soul.
I may not post until the middle of next week (days off, visiting with the family and all that) but I promise you some excellent pre-New Years grooves.

*Though this is the blogs third Christmas, for some reason I didn’t do a holiday post in 2004

**For some strange reason the flip side of the Conedy 45 is a recording of Billie Holiday singing ‘God Bless the Child’. I get the thematic connection, just not why thelong deceased BH ended up on the b-side of a George Conedy 45.

Funky16Corners Radio v.77 – Get Ready!

December 13, 2009

Example

Wayne Cochran gets uptight!

Funky16Corners Radio v.77 – Get Ready!

Playlist

Andre Williams – Do the Popcorn (Checker)
Freddie Scott and the Four Steps – Same Ole Beat (Marlin)
Isley Brothers – Get Into Somethin’ Pt1 (T-Neck)
Wayne Cochran – Get Ready (Chess)
Bobby Byrd – If You Don’t Work You Can’t Eat (King)
Aaron Chico Bailey & the Family Affair Band – The Point Pt1 (Kris)
Booker T & the MGs – It’s Your Thing (Stax)
Dixie Cups – Two Way Poc A Way (ABC/Paramount)
Enoch Light & the Light Brigade – Pick Up the Pieces (Project 3)
Barkays – Son of Shaft (Volt)
Bohannon – Fat Man (Dakar)
Wilson Pickett – International Playboy (Atlantic)
Dave Baby Cortez- Twang Taang (Sound Pak)
Donald Austin – Nanzee (Eastbound)
Jimmy Preacher Ellis – I Gotta See My Baby (Round)
Nite Liters – Afro Strut (RCA)

To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive

Greetings all.

Here we all are again, getting our thing together with a little of the soulful stuff so that we may fill our ears and massage our tired brains as we embark on another trying week. This week is even more of a challenge because the holiday season is in full gear, meaning that the roads and shopping centers are choked with mobs of people brimming with “holiday spirit”, i.e. on the verge of killing one another so that they can spend a lot of money they don’t have (especially this year).
Why don’t you do your friends a favor and send them a Funky16Corners mix for Christmas? They’re free, and delicious, and will help fill from 45 minutes to an hour of their lives with the wonderfulness of funk, soul and jazz.
It is in that spirit that I whip upon you yet another edition of the storied Funky16Corners Radio podcast – the 77th in the series – entitled ‘Get Ready!’.
What are you getting ready for? How about 45 minutes of grooving funk (almost exclusively from 45s) engineered to liven up your wassailing and or eggnog guzzling, up to, but hopefully not including destruction of the pagan tree in the middle of the room (or the seasonal symbol of your choice). You can turn up the volume, but just make sure no one dances into a flaming yule log.
Things get started with taste from the catalog of the always groovy Andre Williams. Williams made a bunch of outstanding 45s in the late 60s for Chess and Checker, and ‘Do the Popcorn’ is one of his finest. Look for the flip of this one, appearing in this space soon.
The next track – by Freddie Scott and the Four Steps – already made such an appearance, but I couldn’t help but toss it into the pot this time around.
I have to thank my man DJ Birdman for turning me on to the Isley Brothers’ ‘Getting Into Something’ the last time I was down in DC. He spun the long version of the track (which includes the extended break in Pt2) and I was like ‘I know that sounds like the Isleys but I don’t know that song.’ And he hepped me to the title.
Wayne Cochran, the man who’s bouffanted visage appears on the cover for this mix was one of the truly great white soul eccentrics. His version of the Temps ‘Get Ready’ appears on the flip of a funky take on Muddy Waters’ ‘Hootchie Kootchie Man’ (sic).
Bobby Byrd! That’s all I have to say on the matter.
Aaron Chico Bailey and the Family Affair Band laid down their extended funk treatise ‘The Point Pts 1&2’ for Los Angeles’s Kris label. Other than the fact that this is a very cool side, I can tell you nothing about them.
Booker T and the MGs were of course the preeminent instrumental band in Memphis during the 60s (and they had massive competition by the American Studios group and the Hi Rhythm Section), charting many of their own hits and backing countless others in the Stax/Volt axis. Their version of the Isley’s ‘It’s Your Thing’ features Mr Jones working it out on the clavinet.
I won’t bother trying to convince you that the Dixie Cups’ 1965 ‘Two Way Poc a Way’ is true funk, but if those drums don’t put a dent in your cerebellum, I don’t know what will.
Next up is a bit uf funky disco from the master of all things easy (and occasionally funky) Mr. Enoch Light. Light had a crack outfit of East Coast sessioners at his disposal at all times, and their take on the AWB’s hit ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ is dance floor approved. If you need more proof head back to Funky16Corners Radio v.62 and check out their excellent version of James Brown’s ‘Hot Pants’.
The Barkays made some great records both before and after the disastrous plane crash that took many of their members (as well as Otis Redding). Their reworking/tribute ‘Son of Shaft’ doesn’t stray too far from Isaac Hayes’ OG, but it is funky.
Hamilton Bohannon returns to the Funky16Corners Radio scene with ‘Fat Man’, which is one of the funkier numbers on his 1974 ‘Keep On Dancin’’ LP.
The next cut is a track that I only discovered was a Wilson Pickett OG after I had already written up the cover by New Orleans belter Lee Bates. Had I looked at the writing credits on the label, I would have discovered that the song had Philadelphia origins, but sometimes I miss the forest for the trees. That said, the Wicked one lays it down hard and heavy making all sorts of claims as to his soulful powers. This is a killer, and the lyrics are hilarious.
Dave Baby Cortez has made many appearances on Funky16Corners, from his early days as an R&B organist, through his soul sides and right on into the funk. The selection in today’s mix – ‘Twang Taang’ – falls into the last category. It’s more of a vocal number than a Hammond feature, but I dig it anyway.
Donald Austin’s funky guitar feature ‘Nanzee’ was the flip side of the better known ‘Crazy Legs’. He drops the tempo down a little bit, but makes up for it with an extra serving of funky.
Jimmie Preacher Ellis laid down some real heat when he whipped up the psychedelic funk of ‘I Gotta See My Baby’, which featured the brutal ‘Put Your Hoe to my Row’ on the flipside.
The final cut in this edition of Funky16Corners Radio is a fairly well known – and accessible – 45 from the mighty Nite Liters, ‘Afro Strut’. Why I waited until I had 76 mixes under my belt to include it here is a mystery.
I hope you dig it all, and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PPS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for some instro pop.

PPPS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners Radio v.76 – One for the Kids

November 15, 2009

Example

Artwork copyright 2009 – Miles Grogan (age 5)

Funky16Corners Radio v.76 – One For the Kids – Funk and Soul for Children of All Ages

Playlist

Rufus Thomas – Do the Funky Penguin Pt1 (Stax)
Shirley Ellis – The Clapping Song (Congress)
Village Soul Choir – A-B-C’s (Abbott)
Freddy & the Kinfolk – The Goat (Dade)
Electric Company feat Morgan Freeman and Bill Cosby – Jelly Belly (WB)
Banana Splits – Doin’ the Banana Split (Kelloggs)
George Semper – Shortnin’ Bread (Imperial)
Bill Doggett – The Worm (Columbia)
Schoolhouse Rock feat. Grady Tate – I Got Six (Capitol)
Guitar Ray – Patty Cake Shake (Hot Line)
King Coleman – The Boo Boo Song Pt1 (King)
JC Davis – Monkey (Chess)
Jerry O – The Funky Chicken Yoke (Boogaloo)
Okie Duke – Chicken Licken’ (Ovation)
Jackson Five – ABC (Motown)
The Philly Four – The Elephant (Cobblestone)
The Unemployed – Funky Rooster (Cotillion)
Lucky Peterson Blues Band – Good Old Candy (Today)
The Portraits – Three Blind Mice (Tri Disc)
Maggie Thrett – Soupy (From Tha Soul)

To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive

Greetings all.

I know this may seem a little early for the arrival of the next Funky16Corners Radio podcast, but sometimes it’s just like that.
The roots of this mix go a long way back (maybe a couple of years?) to a suggestion by a regular reader (who’s identity has been lost in the depths of my e-mail account, raise your hand if it’s you…) that I put together a mix of funk and soul tunes for the kids out there (I have two of my own, and I’m sure a lot of you have your own too).
I thought that this was – in the words of the sage Gomez Addams – a capital idea, but like so many of those, it had to bounce around in the back alleys of the windmills of my mind for a while before I finally buckled down and started rummaging around in the crates to make it a reality. The 40th anniversary of Sesame Street kind of gave me a nudge to get this together as well.
Though the idea seemed simple enough, the realization of the concept took a little bit of thought. There were a couple of obvious selections (some of which made it into the mix, some fell by the wayside for a variety of reasons), but I really needed to go through the archive so that inspirado might finally take hold.
The tunes I was looking for needed to be things that would catch the ear of an actual kid (everything herein has been road tested with my three and five year old sons), and would also need to be “safe”, i.e. free of anything obviously inappropriate (please let me know if I missed anything….). I also wanted the contents of the mix to appeal to the young at heart as well, so that if you are so inclined you could cut a rug alongside your progeny.
Back when the theme was first suggested, the first (and at the time, only) record that came to mind was King Coleman’s ‘Boo Boo Song’, a 45 that sent my son into apoplexy the first time he heard it, and I suspect that it would have the same effect on most people, not just kids. When I hit the crates – as is always the case – I leaned in the direction of overkill, pulling all kinds of stuff that I thought might appeal to the younger set. As I worked through an imposing stack of wax – my sons at my side, some things went by the wayside, either because they ended up containing inappropriate content, or because they failed to elicit a positive response from the “focus group”.
Some of it, like the Electric Company and Schoolhouse Rock fell into the ‘purpose made’ category, their soulful and/or funky attributes merely a happy coincidence.
A couple of things in the mix were in fact performed by actual children (the Jackson Five and Lucky Peterson, who was actually five), and several others were based in kids nursery/playground rhymes. Others were just plain fun (the ‘animal’ themed numbers went over especially well with my kids).
I should also mention that the artwork for Funky16Corners Radio v.76 was created by my five year old son Miles. He drew it before I started working on the mix, but I felt it fit the vibe perfectly. With any luck he’ll whip up some covers for future editions of the podcast.
Listen closely for some blasts from your own childhood (anyone else ride for Captain Kangaroo??), and drop me line to let me know how the mix played with the kids in your life. Make sure you pull down the mixed version so you get all the ‘bonus’ material.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back later in the week with something more traditional.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PPS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for some late-period Monkees

PPPS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Shorty feat. Georgie Fame – Somebody Stole My Thunder

November 12, 2009

Example

Clive gets his suave on….

Example

Listen/Download -Shorty feat. Georgie Fame – Somebody Stole My Thunder

Greetings all.
I hope the end of the week finds you well.
I for one couldn’t be happier that the work week is over, so that I might once again hang with the fam in a relaxed setting. There’s nothing worse than coming directly off a vacation and jumping right back into work/school/routine. It almost makes you think twice about vacationing in the first place (almost…).
Of course, had I not gone away last weekend I wouldn’t have found the LP from which today’s selection originates (as well as a grip of other future Funky16Corners and Iron Leg tunes).
The song in question is the ‘live’ version of the sought after ‘Somebody Stole My Thunder’ by the mighty Georgie Fame.
Surely some of you are familiar with the former Mr Clive Powell, especially those of you with roots in the world of Mod where Mr Fame is nothing less than the equivalent of a smooth, Hammond wrangling holy man.
Fame was, from the early 60s –  where he mixed equal parts Fats Domino and Mose Allison with the sounds of the beat era –  a singular talent, transcending his birth in Larry Parnes’ teen idol factory to become an icon of swinging cool.
He had a couple of hits in the US (’Yeh Yeh’ in 1965 and ‘Getaway’ in 1966) but was a major star in the UK through the 60s and early 70s. The LP ‘Shorty: featuring Georgie Fame’, which was released in 1970 seems in hindsight to have been an effort to apply an edge, or at least a festival/ballroom era veneer to Fame’s career, remaking him from a ‘personality’ and presenting him as part of a band (thus Shorty…). The project was short-lived (though the band did tour the US, appearing at the Fillmore West on a bill with Lee Michaels and Rod Stewart), and a close listen to the album reveals that ‘Shorty’ were less of a distinct band identity, pretty much sounding like Georgie Fame with a backing group.
Bassist Brian Odgers had played in Sweet Thursday, guitarist Colin Green had played on previous Fame LPs, drummer Harvey Burns played with Cat Stevens and Al Stewart and saxophonist Alan Skidmore was a veteran of the London R&B scene, having played with both Alexis Korner and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.
The ‘Shorty’ album includes a couple of tunes from the previous year’s ‘Seventh Son’ LP as well as a reworking of the chestnut ‘Parchman Farm’.
‘Somebody Stole My Thunder’ is a funky, dancefloor mover with a sharp guitar line, churning Hammond and sax, and of course a stylish vocal by Georgie. It’s a little more diffuse than the studio version (popular on dancefloors the world over) but it still packs a wallop.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back on Monday with something groovy.

Peace

Larry

Example

Check out the Funky16Corners Store at Cafe Press

PS Head over to Iron Leg for some groovy sunshine pop.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook


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